Monsoon favouring, 8.5% growth rate possible: Pranab

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday expressed confidence that the country would achieve the ambitious 8.5 per cent growth rate if monsoon was “favourable” this year.

The economy was moving in the “right direction” and even otherwise it should be able to achieve a growth rate of 7.4 per cent. And given a favourable monsoon, “I have no doubt we will be able to achieve the target of 8.5 per cent growth rate,” he told journalists in a chat here.

Mr. Mukherjee was on a day's visit to Gujarat to hold discussions with Chief Minister Narendra Modi on implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) proposals later this year.

The Union Minister also presided over a function of the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce in Surat for installation of new office-bearers, and laid the foundation stone for an office building of the Income-Tax department here.

He refused to reply to any question on the U.S-based Dow Chemicals, which had taken over the Union Carbide Corporation responsible for the Bhopal gas disaster.

Asked whether he would meet Dow officials during his coming U.S. visit along with some members of the Group of Ministers appointed to go into all aspects, after the recent judgment in the gas disaster case, Mr. Mukherjee said the schedule included only his U.S.-India CEO Forum meeting and a bilateral meeting with treasury officials. “I am not aware of any other meeting and I don't know from where all the talk of my meeting with the Dow Chemical officials has cropped up.”

On the economy, he said advance tax collections had been “quite encouraging” and industrial production in March this year increased by 17.6 per cent. About reducing the fiscal deficit from 5.5 per cent, thanks to the recent collections from the 3G and wireless broadband auction (BWA), the Minister said this did not automatically mean reducing the fiscal deficit. “I have got some additional cushions through the auction and it has given us a little elbow room. But I cannot quantify it at present.”

On his meeting with Mr. Modi, Mr. Mukherjee said it was part of his exercise to evolve consensus among all States and the Centre on the GST. But, Mr. Modi said he told Mr. Mukherjee that the GST would succeed only if there was a “perfect information technology infrastructure” connecting the Income-Tax department, manufacturers and consumers.

Also, the Centre required to create a “sense of trust” among the States. “As far as the States were concerned, a “change in the government at the Centre often causes change in the formula to share tax revenue which in turn adversely affects development,” Mr. Modi said.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 9:58:11 AM |

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